UNSC poll: Indian Foreign Minister calls 123 counterparts

    New Delhi, Oct 12, IRNA — New Delhi is quietly working the phones as it lobbies hard for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, whose elections are scheduled for Tuesday evening.

    India is the only candidate from Asia, after Kazakhstan pulled out of the race early this year.

    External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who spent 10 days in New York last month during which he met presidents or foreign ministers of 56 countries — highest by an Indian minister in such a short span — has been leading the Indian charge.

    Krishna had personally spoken to foreign ministers of 123 countries, and was expected to speak with a dozen more over the next 24 hours. He has been talking to 8-12 foreign ministers per day over the past fortnight. Among the countries whose support has been sought is Pakistan, Indian Express reported quoting sources.

    On a hotline with the External Affairs Minister, almost 24/7, is India’s permanent representative at the UN, Hardeep Puri who, in turn, has been meeting the PRs (the “permanent representatives”) of various countries in New York.

    At stake is the UNSC non-permanent seat, and the first such opportunity for India after its economic influence in the world was recognised with it being made part of the G-20 configuration. Elections for the 10 non-permanent members will take place in New York tomorrow evening, and the two-year term begins on January 1, 2011.

    The hectic campaign for the non-permanent seat at the high table began almost two years back, and has so far earned New Delhi over 70 letters of support from different countries, including Iran. While the US and China have also assured their support, they haven’t given any letters.
    To win, India needs the vote of two-thirds of the 192 members of the UN General Assembly, or 128 votes.

    India, which was on the UNSC in 1992 last, is keeping its fingers crossed as in 1996 it had suffered a bloody nose in a battle against Japan for a seat, losing by a huge margin of 100 votes due to abstentions